Saturday saw one of my favourite nights of the year; Eurovision! For my American or Asian counterparts, the Eurovision Song Contest is a very glam, very camp, annual music competition held over here in ‘Yurp’. The various countries put forward their entries which really span just about every musical genre you could imagine, and we, the public, vote. It’s on for about three hours, and has a MASSIVE audience across the continent. I’m a huge fan and love getting together with my mates once a year to vote, do a sweepstake and generally get beered-up and have a good time.
A long-standing part of Eurovision for me has always been the commentary by the inimitable Sir Terry Wogan. He’s very dry, and gradually gets more and more drunk while taking the mickey out of the other countries. Unfortunately last year was his last, after years of what can only be called very political voting in the Eastern Bloc nations. He was obviously getting more and more disillusioned and last year’s very obvious voting for Russia was the straw that broke the camel’s back. So this year we welcomed Graham Norton into the fray, and personally I was very pleased with him. He’s got the same cutting sarcasm and his own cheeky witticisms, and once he got into his swing he was genuinely very funny. Well, what I heard was; I was at a very raucous party with my friends, drinking and eating European beers and snacks and arguing over the scoresheets I’d printed from the BBC website. Good times.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be asked to be one of the coaches for the new Kids Kickboxing class, and every week since I’ve been turning up for the extra hour before our Sunday Tang Soo Do lessons and working with the little guys. Quite where they get their energy from I’ve no idea, but I wish I could harness some. So far I think it’s going really well, I’ve had pretty much the same group with me each week and I’ve managed to remember all their names, which to be honest has been a task in itself. I’ve very quickly been able to see which of them is picking things up easily, where any problems might lie, and which ones of them have freakishly strong punches for their size!
It’s enormously rewarding watching them soak up everything they’re told and shown, especially when you’re able to identify a small thing to change which makes a big difference to their technique. They sparred with us (the coaches) last night, and I think I can safely say that almost without exception, they loved it. It’s not often they’re told to get stuck in and start hitting adults, and you could almost see their faces light up when we were getting them padded up. I’m looking forward to seeing how they progress over the coming months.
I’m really pleased to have this head start on teaching, because it’s definitely where I think I want to be in the not-too-distant future. Don’t get me wrong, I love my own training and will keep going for as long as I’m able, but I have to think realistically too. I’m thirty-two in nine days time, and I might only have a few good years of being able to compete and train for fighting at the level I do now. What does that leave afterwards? I’m not indestructable, I can’t keep going forever, and not training would leave a massive gap in my life. I think I’m lucky to be training in something traditional, as if it were competition or sport oriented (especially sport karate) I think I could get very bored just teaching drills and not actually training for a purpose any more. Spending all my time working on drills and techniques that I know I’d never use in competition would be pretty soul-destroying. It’s now that I need to focus on getting a strong Dan grade and to keep working beyond there, and work toward teaching more; both kids and adults alike.
Have you ever had one of those ‘I knew it!‘ moments? You know the sort of thing, you’re sure you were right about something, and it turns out you were spot-on. I had a good one this last week and it’s made me feel much better about myself. It’s nice to know that even if other people take you for a fool, you know better .